Nunavut’s main internet service provider has secured more satellite capacity to fix a shortage that forced them to stop taking on new customers.
SSi has joined a multi-year agreement with a European satellite network SES to increase their internet capacity.
SSi Canada runs the internet service Qiniq— which is the main provider for Nunavut communities outside Iqaluit.
“They [SES] have actually liberated a satellite, a whole satellite that was already in space, and pointed it north,” said Dean Proctor, SSi’s chief development officer.
Proctor says the satellite covers all of Canada and will allow SSi to continue to provide the same quality service to existing customers while being able to take on new customers.
In the fall, Qiniq had to stop taking on new customers because they didn’t have the bandwidth to take on more users without the quality of the existing service going down.
“We have been running out of [internet] capacity in Nunavut because there are only so many satellites that deliver service there,” said Proctor. “It has been a real issue.”
The deal with SES is the solution to that problem.
“This is providing much more than we had, but there is much more to be done,” said Proctor.
However, Proctor says satellite is still a much more costly service than other internet options like fibre optic, DSL, or cable — options that don’t currently exist in Nunavut because of a lack of infrastructure.
“We’re still not at a point where we can deliver the same capacity for the same price as you would find in southern Canada,” said Proctor.
Proctor says this deal is another step in closing the digital divide in the North and improving connectivity.
“This is an essential step,” said Proctor. “It’s one that comes in the time of COVID where more than ever we need this.”